My boyfriend and I are on the road to serious commitment, but one sticking point is my resentment over his refusal to change his sleep habits to spend more time together. I work long hours that cut into our evenings together, and I have told him it would mean a lot to me for us to have breakfast together. Instead he stays up way into the night when I am already in bed, even though he says he won’t, and then he is too tired to get up with me in the morning, instead rushing off late to work after I’ve already left. If he really wanted to prioritize time together, he’d do this. —Resentful of the Night Owl
In general, that is true: Someone puts effort into doing what matters to them. But his staying up late could be from delayed sleep phase syndrome, insomnia, depression or compulsive technology use. Or, he could just be a night owl who is simply not built to be smiling over bagels with you before 9 a.m. Clearly, it’s the promising and reneging that is problematic, with each day bringing a fresh round of disappointment and resentment. That’s not sustainable in a healthy relationship.
So how does he really feel about his sleep schedule, and is he truly on board with changing it? Might he secretly be wondering why you get to ask him to wake up earlier and he doesn’t get to ask you to stay up later? If he’s got real sleep issues he might need to make changes for his health, but if he’s just on a different rhythm you both might need to make compromises for the sake of your partnership. I think more honest communication is needed here — after he’s had his coffee.
Step away from the fiancee …
I suppose if you are in love with your friend’s fiancee, you should not tell him this. Nor do anything to show your feelings to her. Nor maybe even spend time with them? Do I have to remove myself from this duo until death do us part? —Miserable
Well, the rom-coms will tell you that you can’t go wrong unabashedly declaring your love, preferably in a rainstorm while a sassy co-worker (wearing hipster glasses, naturally) cheers you on from the window. But, yes, in real life the situation is much more nauseating, as you have the potential to break up a friendship (or two!) and even a marriage. And no, that is not meant as encouragement.
It’s unclear how close you are to this couple, but giving them space is wise. As they get married and perhaps cocoon a bit, you might find a natural opportunity to get onto different paths — they wouldn’t be the first couple whose social life changes after matrimony. But cultivating your own life is equally important, to help you get distracted and fulfilled by other interests, friends and perhaps romantic prospects. Unless, of course, you’re not single yourself — which is a whole different movie.
Send your questions for Baggage Check to Dr. Andrea Bonior at email@example.com.
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